Things That Made Me Regret Getting in This Uber
Ride sharing offers enormous convenience in Los Angeles and I'm grateful for the option but every now and again you're just getting into a goddamn stranger's vehicle, hoping he's not a cannibal sex predator. ...Doesn't really matter, though, because the door is definitely already locked.
- •"Is this where you live?"/"Do you live in the building?"The #1 most common source of immediate passenger's regret. I tell myself the majority of these drivers are just trying to make conversation; then again, I almost never field the question when I'm with my boyfriend so the corresponding unease might be related. Drivers of all builds, shapes and statures: just ask something more generic for christ's sake ("Do you live in Los Angeles?") and let me determine how specific I'm comfortable being with you.
- •"...What floor?"Once I absentmindedly confirmed it was my building and this was the actual follow-up. You get the picture.
- •"Do you like techno music?"People ask me this question in Ubers and Germany; at least for the one, I'm in Germany.
- •"Do you party?"This is the "I'm bout to hear allllllllll about the crazy shit he and his boys got into last night!" moment. My attempts to answer always play out the same: I scoff a little too sharp; laugh nervously because that's my default with a lot of dumb shit said between strangers, trail off when he doesn't reveal himself to be kidding and finally say something like, "Uhhhhh. I don't really know what that means. No?"
- •"You should come out with us sometime. One of the guys is a promoter--"...Of course, if I haven't done what becomes my job at all costs for the duration of this ride (signaling my extreme, almost abrasive sexual apathy), this is the aforementioned asshole's predictable Hail Mary.
- •"I'm actually a DJ for my real job."A subspecies of both "Do you party?" driver and, unsurprisingly, "Is this where you live?" guy too.
- •Prolonged, unsmiling eye contact in the rearview windowNo no no not in a "venue staff and crew are not to make eye contact with the performer" kind of way. Jesus Christ. I mean the unwavering gaze of someone imagining what you look like naked strapped to a trolley; often paired with long noiseless night rides and me conspicuously following the route on Google maps.
- •"You're very intelligent for a woman."This extremely hot, impeccably dressed Dutch dude was fucking floored when I knew about... Al-Jazeera. He proceeded to marvel for our thirty minutes together about how stupid his female passengers always were ("Okay, maybe it's just women in LA," I miraculously got him to concede after asking if he'd ever had any stupid male passengers). By the time he dropped me off, he'd grown more distant; I sensed he found me ungrateful.
- •"You know a lot for an American woman."This driver was initially super friendly when I lit up at his mention of fattoush; soon he was quizzing me with increasing suspicion, finally exclaiming, "Wow! You know a lot about Persian food for an American woman!" At first I thought "American" was the crucial modifier there but soon he just dropped it and continued ranting apace. At the end of the ride, he wouldn't let me out until I did an absurd pantomime of taking down his number (so next time I could call him for a ride directly).
- •"You're really funny for a girl."I hadn't said much (let alone anything funny) but I did smile placatingly at his horrible jokes because it's just less anxiety for me in the short term. Still, I see how you might confuse the two.
- •"Well, she's ugly."This driver was obviously used to being the frat house clown and thought he was a laugh riot. We pulled up alongside a girl texting at the wheel of her giant SUV and I remarked that it unsettles me to see people doing that all the time. He agreed, said it was "almost always women" and then paused and declared, "Well, she's ugly. And she has bad skin." As if we both might take some comfort in that.
- •Texting while drivingSurprisingly: not just for stupid womenfolk! Jesus fucking Christ: if your job involves driving people places, get a GD mount for your phone. The majority of times I dread my ride ending in fiery wreckage have to do with the clueless driver texting/using Google/browsing Instagram from his lap.
- •When the driver gave up looking for my destination and suggested taking me to a bar he liked nearbyI was heading to a bar in a strip of industrial warehouses but this driver (a DJ, incidentally) wouldn't drop me off because the area looked "deserted." He drove in circles for a few minutes as I repeatedly asked to get out. Finally, he became exasperated and said: "You know what? I know a bar close to here. Let me take you, buy you a drink." I then pretended to spot the friend I was meeting on the street. He sent me off with his card and a promise he would "intro me" to "important people."
- •"I mean, True Detective, obviously genius."This driver was a deplorably smug asshole who spent the first leg of the ride explaining that he was a serious dramatic actor but cursed with such natural comedic timing that coaches and casting people always beg him to do comedy. Upon finding out I was a television writer, he spent the rest of the ride explaining what few shows were any good and why television still had a long way to go before he'd consider doing it.
- •"AHHHHHHHHH!"This was un-fucking-believable: @spillman and I got into the backseat of a guy's car and he straight up *scared us* by lunging between the front seats and screaming. First we were horrified, then we assumed we knew him, finally we used our faces to weakly communicate: "It's not even October and we don't know you at all." But then he was offering his hand for both of us to shake and laughing, like, wasn't that hilarious? To our stunned silence, he posed: "So, where you guys from?"